Socioeconomic status and features of physical health rather than tumor characteristics were associated with symptoms of depression among long-term survivors of colorectal cancer, a study published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer has shown.1

Although colorectal cancer survivorship has substantially improved over the last 2 decades, few studies have assessed depression among older colorectal cancer survivors, particularly using a patient-based sample.

Therefore, researchers at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, sought to identify risk factors for positive depression screen among survivors who underwent potentially curative surgery.

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For the study, researchers analyzed data from 1785 patients with resected colorectal cancer included in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database. All patients were age 65 years or older.

Results showed that 15.6% of patients screened positive for symptoms of depression. The median time from colorectal cancer diagnosis to depression screening was 62 months.

Researchers found that larger tumor size, advanced cancer stage, and extent of resection did not correlate with depressive symptoms.

After adjusting for confounding factors, the analysis demonstrated that income less than $30 000 per year (OR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.02-2.22; P = .042), non-white race (OR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.05-2.17; P = .027), 2 or more comorbidities (OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.25-2.52; P = .001), and impairment in activities of daily living (OR, 5.28; 95% CI, 3.67-7.60; P < .001) were independently associated with depressive symptoms.


1. Clark CJ, Fino NF, Liang JH, et al. Depressive symptoms in older long-term colorectal cancer survivors: a population-based analysis using the SEER-Medicare healthcare outcomes survey [published online ahead of print April 23, 2016]. doi:10.1007/s00520-016-3227-x.